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Mechanical design and construction are two key elements of building successful robots. Some of the books in this section will provide basic knowledge to the novice, others will provide even the most advanced robot builder with tips and tricks that could make the difference between an "ordinary" robot, and a work of art.

"Mechanics is the paradise of mathematical sciences...   Mechanical science is most noble and useful beyond all others, since by means of it, all animated bodies that have motion perform all their operations."
   - Leonardo DaVinci



   Building Robot Drive Trains

Building Robot Drive TrainsBuilding Robot Drive Trains is the first volume in the new "Robot DNA" series by McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics. It is just what robotics hobbyists need to build an effective drive train using inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts. Leaving heavy-duty “tech speak” behind, the authors focus on the actual concepts and applications necessary to build – and understand -- these critical force-conveying systems. If you want a clear, straightforward guide to the nuts-and-bolts of drive trains, this is the way to go.

Chapters include:
* The Basics of Robot Locomotion * Motor Types: An Overview * Using DC Motors * Using RC Servo Motors * Using Stepper Motors * Motor Mounting * Basic Motor Control * Advanced Motor Control * Electronics Interfacing * Wheels and Treads * Locomotion for Multipods * Glossary of Terms, Tables, Formulas * 75 illustrations



The "Robot DNA" series has become an essential addition to every amateur roboticist's bookshelf. Start your collection today with Building Robot Drive Trains.

We recommend this book!

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   Constructing Robot Bases

Constructing Robot BasesThis is the third book in the "Robot DNA" Series which also includes Programming Robot Controllers and Building Robot Drive Trains. This new addition to the series includes all the information you'll need to build a working robot base.

Author Gordon McComb focuses on the basic concepts and specific applications you need to build efficient robot bases -- and have a great time in the process. In the clear, easy-to-follow style that has made him a favorite among robotics fans, Gordon tells you how to get things up and running using inexpensive, easily-obtained parts and simple equipment.

Detailed enough to get the job done, but written with the amateur hobbyist in mind, Constructing Robot Bases is your first point of reference when designing and building this essential subsystem.

Constructing Robot Bases includes information on:
* Mechanical Construction
* Electrical Construction
* Operating Power
* Robot Designs
* Constructing a Two-Wheeled Rover Robot
* Selecting the right materials
* Tables, Formulas, and Constants
* Resources (books, web pages, list servers, clubs, suppliers, etc.)

The "Robot DNA" series has become an absolutely essential addition to every amateur roboticist's bookshelf. Start your collection today with Constructing Robot Bases.

Gordon McComb writes the widely read Robotics Resources column for Servo Magazine.
Also from the same author:
Robot Builder's Bonanza : 99 Inexpensive Robotics Projects
Robot Builder's Sourcebook
Electronics for Dummies

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   Basic Machines and How They Work

Basic Machines and How They WorkThis revised edition of an extremely clear Navy training manual thoroughly covers basic theory, ranging from the lever and inclined plane up through internal combustion engines and power trains. Only the most elementary mathematics is required to follow it.

Beginning with the simplest of machine - the lever - the text proceeds with discussions of pulleys and hoists, wheels and axles, the inclined plane, the wedge, the screw, and several types of gears (spur, bevel, herringbone, spiral, worm, etc.). A chapter on the concept of work discusses the measurement of work, friction, and efficiency. This is followed by investigations of power, force, and pressure. The fundamentals of hydraulic machines are discussed in detail. Other chapters cover machine elements (bearings, springs, etc.), and basic mechanisms (differentials, couplings, cams, clutches and more).

Every concept is clearly defined and the discussions build easily from elementary theory to particular applications familiar to anyone with the slightest interest in mechanics. Important concepts, machine components, and techniques are clearly illustrated in over 200 diagrams, drawings, and cross-sections that reveal inner workings. Originally designed for use in U.S. Naval training schools, Basic Machines and How They Work is very valuable to the novice who desires a basic knowledge of mechanics.

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   Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements

507 Mechanical MovementsFive Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements was originally published in 1893. A fascinating survey of basic mechanical movements from America's first 100 years of the Industrial Revolution. For those of us who share an interest in mechanical things, this book is addictive.

This small, inexpensive book is a great introduction to the world of mechanical devices. Most of these mechanisms are simple, and the 19th century technology is well suited for amateur garage workshops. It starts with the transmission of power by pulleys, and ends with some moderately complex differential gearing arrangements.

Each movement is explained and illustrated with simplified, concise drawings. Browse through it when you want to get your own mental "gears" working.



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   Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, Fourth Edition

This is our favorite book on Mechanical design, and one of our over-all favorite titles. Mechanisms & Mechanical Devices Sourcebook features an amazing collection of "pre-invented" linkages, cams, gears, clutches, brakes, and classical mechanisms. The 500 large-format pages with over 2500 illustrations make each of the devices easy to understand and replicate.

The new Fourth Edition of this book is your one-stop idea-guide for timesaving, ready-to-use mechanical component designs. Whatever mechanical, electromechanical, or mechatronic device, product, or system you are designing or improving—motion-control components, appliances, machine tools, spacecraft, or robots—you will find relevant illustrations and text in this book. If your application requires components that move, you need this book!

An unmatched compilation of proven design ideas and solutions, Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook describes and illustrates over 2500 tested mechanisms, linkages, cams, variable-speed drives, gears, clutches, brakes, belts, flexures, chucks, clamps, and springs. You can use them as is--or modify them to meet your needs. The book illustrates how these components combine successfully with electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, optical, thermal, or photoelectric devices. It shows you how to create integrated designs that perform a range of complex tasks. The book includes key design curves, graphs, tables, and equations for designing a variety of components - geared five-bar mechanisms, internal, and external Geneva wheels, crank-and-rocker links, snap-action toggles, angular-motion and curvilinear-motion mechanisms, slider cranks, ratchet wheels, and more.

Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook is the most extensive, thoroughly researched reference of its kind. The authors compiled the data from major product-design and design- engineering publications and from other authoritative sources. It's the place to turn for the time-saving approaches that can get your design started off right; break you out of conceptual log jams; suggest more cost-efficient alternatives; or just fine-tune a good design to make it even better.

The only reference of its kind, this sourcebook contains drawings and descriptions of mechanisms and mechanical devices that have proven themselves in modern products, machines, and systems. This encyclopedic guide offers:

*An extensive pictorial directory of time-tested components, mechanisms, and devices that have applications in new designs and modifications

*Mechanisms and devices are organized by application and principle of operation--to give you fast on-the-job access.

*Illustrated technical articles summarizing important, expanding fields in mechanical, electromechanical, and mechatronic design and engineering

*A source of historical information about mechanical components and devices that have participated in design solutions in the past and can be recycled for new designs, or will offer ideas that will inspire original concepts

*Key equations and charts for designing mechanisms, and a complete index, making it easy to find references to specific components, devices, mechanisms, and systems

Table of Contents:
Chapter   1: Motion Control Systems
Chapter   2: Robot Mechanisms
Chapter   3: Parts-Handling Mechanisms
Chapter   4: Reciprocating and General-Purpose Mechanism
Chapter   5: Special-Purpose Mechanisms
Chapter   6: Spring, Bellow, Flexure, Screw, and Ball Devices
Chapter   7: Cam, Toggle, Chain, and Belt Mechanisms
Chapter   8: Geared Systems and Variable-Speed Mechanisms
Chapter   9: Coupling, Clutching, and Braking Devices
Chapter 10: Torque-Limiting, Tensioning, and Governing Devices
Chapter 11: Pneumatic and Hydraulic Machine and Mechanism Control
Chapter 12: Fastening, Latching, Clamping, and Chucking Devices
Chapter 13: Key Equations and Charts for Designing Mechanisms
Chapter 14: New Directions in Machine Design

If you are the creative sort, ideas and applications for these devices will jump out at you at each turn of the page. Many of the devices are just simple combinations of gears, links, chains, and levers, that are well within the abilities of the Sunday garage tinkerer. Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook is a must addition to your personal technical library. We give it our highest recommendation. Don't go into the workshop without it!

We recommend this book!

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   Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors, 4 Volume Set

Ingenious MechanismsThe authors of Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors have made a thorough study of ingenious mechanisms that have been patented in the last 200 years. They have culled the best and most original of these ideas and presented them in this four volume set, with a total of 2100 pages and very detailed drawings.

The text explains how each device works, along with illustrations that point out what each part does in the mechanism. Not as easy as some of the other books in this section, but much more complete. 

Deep in these pages are some absolutely priceless devices. Each of the four books in the set has the same chapter headings. Some examples are "Intermittent motions from gears and cams", and "Reversing mechanisms for rotating parts".


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   Mechanical Devices For The Electronics Experimenter

Mechanical DevicesA how-to book for designing and fabricating mechanical devices for motion and positioning in robotics. This book explains the fundamental mechanical concepts necessary to design your own robot from scratch and details all the theoretical information behind your inventions.

Filled with easy-to-understand illustrations, this unique guide describes in detail how to: design robot propulsion systems; fabricate components for pneumatic systems; design simple hydraulic systems, gear trains and cams; and adapt off-the-shelf parts and components for use in electronics experiments.

The book also covers permanent-magnet DC motors and stepper motors, and basic driver circuits for each, encoders for position feedback, and how to make your own solenoids. The last two chapters cover wheeled, tracked, and legged locomotion systems for robots.

Read an excerpt from this book


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   Illustrated Sourcebook of Mechanical Components

Mechanical ComponentsPacked with unique designs and unexpected applications, the Illustrated Sourcebook of Mechanical Components is a compendium of mechanical parts and their innovative uses and assemblies. Page after page, the text leads you to new ideas and provides a practical and incredibly rich source of design ideas.

Everywhere you look, you'll discover unique constructions mined from hard-to-locate technical journals and publications, forward thinking creations and valuable historical finds rescued from undeserved obscurity.

Gathered together by respected engineer and editor Robert O. Parmley, this fully illustrated volume -- the result of his life-long fascination with machines -- will help you: Quickly survey and evaluate the full array of suitable components; Do systematic searches for the right device; Discover creative new uses for standard parts; Invent cost-effective solutions to design challenges; and inspire creativity.

This large-format book is similar in look and feel to the best-selling Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook by Chironis (see below), but at 1200 pages, it vastly expands on the range of key machine elements used in a wide range of applications. Filled with thousands of illustrations, it provides a quick-look-up resource of pictorial detail.

This kaleidoscopic display of thousands of applications helps you find or design the perfect device quickly including: mechanisms... linkage... fabrication tips... gears and gearing... chains, sprockets and ratchets... belts and belting... shafts and couplings... clutches... creative assemblies... springs... pins... cams... bushings and bearings... and design hints. You'll also find design formulas, structural data, nomograms, charts, and unusual tables rarely found in conventional technical sources.

This User-friendly compendium of mechanical devices is a treasure chest of ideas. It is testimony to centuries of engineering genius that produced unique components and mechanical wonders, many of which have been hidden from technical literature for decades. It is designed to stimulate new ideas and highlight the importance of mechanical components by illustrating their versatility, innovative applications, history and artistry.


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   Engineer to Win

Engineer to WinEngineer to Win : The Essential Guide to Racing Car Materials Technology or How to Build Winners Which Don't Break is one of the books most cited by BattleBots veterans. The author has many years of experience building racing cars, and he has filled the book with tips and tricks that a robot builder can use.

He covers selection and heat treatment of metals in great detail. This is the best source of info about which alloy of steel or aluminum you should choose for the various components of a robot. Learn how the racers make their parts as light as possible without sacrificing strength and how to design your parts to minimize failure by metal fatigue. It describes what years of experience has taught race car builders about selecting fasteners and the proper design of a bolted or riveted joint. Learn how the racers plumb their hydraulic systems to avoid leaks and failures, and how they use honeycomb and composite materials in their cars. The author even gives us some tips on shop practices and machining. The book also discusses things like aerodynamics and suspension geometry which don't apply directly to robotics, but make interesting reading anyway. Nearly 300 illustrations help us understand the wealth of material in Engineer to Win.

The author's style is down-to-Earth and practical, but not always politically correct. You get the feeling that it is written by an expert with many years in the trenches, who really knows his stuff.


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   The Home Machinist's Handbook

The Home Machinists HandbookHere's everything the do-it-yourselfer needs to set up, and operate a handy-man's machine shop. Areas covered range from shop requirements and proper lighting to buying, using, and storing tools. Recommended for beginning machinists. All the instructions and projects shown are accomplished on Sherline benchtop tools, but the tricks and tips can be used in any home-shop setup.


The 275 page book talks about setting up your shop, using, buying and storing your tools, how to read shop drawings, measurement tools and techniques, mill and lathe operation, material selection, heat treating, finishing and polishing, and more. Ten projects are included that range from a simple center punch to a ship's cannon.


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   Machinery's Handbook

Celebrating its 90th year, the newest edition of "The Bible" in its field brings together volumes of knowledge, information and data gathered, revised and improved upon from experts throughout the mechanical industries. The 27th completely revised edition of the metalworking industry's definitive resource, Machinery's Handbook provides a wealth of engineering and shop standards, illustrations, formulas, tables, and graphs. Step by step, worked out examples illustrate the proper use of a calculator to solve the formulas. Material properties, speeds and feeds for machining of metals and plastics, and gear and thread geometry, are just some of the hundreds of tables that fill this book.

No self-respecting machinist is without a copy of this thick, 2690 page handbook in his toolbox. If you are using a milling machine or a lathe to produce your robot, you shouldn't be without a copy either.

The CD-ROM version adds state-of-the-art electronic features to the complete text of "The Bible of the Mechanical Industries." The CD-ROM provides: Boolean and proximity searches; complete text search; extensive support for bookmarking, journaling and annotation; interlinks leading to related topics and examples; zoom features for detailed viewing of figures and graphs; cut and paste capabilities for inserting text into other documents and programs; and an expandable table of contents providing instant access to text, tables and illustrations. In addition to the complete 26th edition, this CD-ROM also contains important material from earlier editions of Machinery's Handbook. Extensive cross-referencing between the CD-ROM and the Handbook make them ideal complements and the Combo Special a great value.

A new slimmer, cheaper edition of Machinery's Handbook is also available. The "Pocket Companion" version is an extremely concise yet completely authoritative ready-reference which draws its content largely from original. This book is designed for anyone who needs convenient access to just the most basic data. The Machinery's Handbook Pocket Companion will not replace the Handbook, but instead will serve as a handy complement to the latter's vastly larger compilation of data, standards and text.

Machinery's Handbook is available in several different "flavors".
To order the standard toolbox edition, click here
To order the large-type edition, click here
To order the book with the CD-ROM, click here
To order the 325 page "Pocket Companion", click here

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   Welder's Handbook

Learn to weld like a pro with the best-selling Welder's Handbook : A complete Guide to MIG, TIG, Arc, and Oxyacetylene Welding. This is a completely revised and updated edition of the classic welding handbook.

Step-by-step techniques are fully illustrated to help you use the latest welding technology to join everything from mild steel, aluminum, and chrome-moly to magnesium and titanium. The book covers gas welding, cutting, brazing, and soldering; equipment and safety; fitting and jigging; arc, MIG and TIG welding; torch cutting; plasma cutting; welding rods, wire, and fluxes; and more. Big 1/4 page illustrations clearly show the welding techniques and several examples of good and bad welds. The author gives his recommendations for welding equipment so you might want to take a look at this book before you even get your gear.

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   Sheet Metal Handbook

Sheet Metal HandbookRobots with sweeping organic curves are the most visually appealing BattleBots. Now you can learn the techniques for forming sheet metal into complex curves or just simple boxes. In the Sheet Metal Handbook master metal craftsman Ron Fournier gives step-by-step instructions for designing and building with sheet metal.

You'll find tips on: Setting up your own shop; Selecting and using basic hand tools; Proper use of English wheels, beaders, rollers, brakes and power hammers; Pattern design and proper sheet metal selection; Basic metal shaping techniques; The art of hammerforming; Proper riveting techniques; And finally, tips on repairing sheet metal, (an essential skill if you play with BattleBots)! Lavishly illustrated with over 300 photographs.

Also by Ron Fournier: Metal Fabricator's Handbook

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   Leonardo's Lost Robots

Leonardo's Lost Robots reinterprets Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical design work, revealing a new level of sophistication not recognized by art historians or engineers. By identifying his major technological projects, the book revisits Leonardo's legacy of notebooks, showing that apparently unconnected fragments from dispersed manuscripts actually comprise cohesive designs for functioning automata. Using the rough sketches scattered throughout almost all of Leonardo's papers, Rosheim has reconstructed Leonardo's programmable cart, which was the platform for other automata: a Robot Lion, a Robot Knight, and a hydraulically powered automaton for striking a bell. Through a readable, lively narrative, Mark Rosheim, in this beautifully illustrated volume, recounts his adventures rediscovering and reconstructing da Vinci's designs. In a foreword, the world-renowned Leonardo scholar Carlo Pedretti details the significance of these reconstructions for our understanding of Leonardo's oeuvre.

Mark Rosheim attended the University of Minnesota, studying mechanical engineering. He has developed robotic technologies for NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy. He holds over 20 patents in robot technology, and has published and lectured extensively around the world on the topic of robot technology and history.

His quest to understand the mechanical principles of human motion and dexterity led him to investigate the anatomical and mechanical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Utilizing a new approach, he began to reconnect the tell-tale fragments into a cohesive whole. His work has attracted attention worldwide, including articles in the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and Wired, and has been the subject of news features and films on several Italian television stations, the BBC, PBS and the History Channel.

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   Creative Kinetics: Making Mechanical Models in Wood

Artist, inventor, and longtime author Rodney Frost is known for wacky, whimsical woodworking books that encourage readers to experiment. With his newest, most creative volume yet, he provides an introduction to the wild and whimsical world of kinetic art- art that moves. Using plenty of informative sidebars and dynamic illustrations, Frost teaches the basic techniques in his own inimitable style, beginning with easy, fun projects like weather vanes and mobiles powered by air currents alone. Then it's on to simple toys you manipulate with strings, and art mechanized by levers, cranks, cams, and cogs.

Far from a routine woodworking book, Creative Kinetics will inspire even the least craft-minded reader to pick up some scissors and turn a tuna can into a propeller or cardboard into a jumping-jack.

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